Steps to paint MDF


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Old 02-13-15, 08:26 AM
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Steps to paint MDF

I'd like to get a smooth quality finish on some MDF cabinets I've built.

I'm curious what steps I can take to do this as well as the recommended primer, and paint to use.

I have an HVLP spray gun. Do you first prime with something like Zinser, sand, then apply a high quality white satin paint?

Thank you!
 
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Old 02-13-15, 08:36 AM
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Zinnser has many primers, many will do ok although an enamel undercoater is generally best for both sealing the MDF and allowing for good gloss retention of the enamel top coat. Either oil base or latex undercoater will do a good job. While oil base enamels dry to the hardest film, they yellow over time. Waterborne enamels dry to almost as hard a film and do not yellow [hard film = long wear] There is a wide range of quality in latex enamels, the cheaper ones tend to dry to a very soft film that is subject to peeling when damaged or sticking when consistent contact is made [like a shut door] This is less of an issue with the better grades of latex enamel.

An HVLP works well with solvent based coatings but isn't so great for water based coatings because of the great need to thin the coating.
 
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Old 02-13-15, 08:39 AM
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As Mark said, oil based paints yellow with time so I would not consider one in white. Hence, my choice would be a waterborne enamel as well.

If the cabinets are inside, I wouldn't consider spraying. If they're not in the house yet, you could spray them based on the info Mark provided about how well it works with different bases.
 
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Old 02-13-15, 08:50 AM
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My favorite primer for wood and mdf is made by Do It Best... (a SW product) its a high solids, very sandable primer. When sanded, it gets very smooth and the dust from sanding is like powder... it leaves a flat finish that paints nicely.

Other primers (like Zinsser and Kilz 2) don't sand well, are kind of gummy and glossy, so sometimes a brush will seem to leave more stroke marks on the surface, it seems to me... something to di with the glossy primer I assume.
 
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Old 02-13-15, 08:55 AM
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X - what's the actual name of the primer? You have me wanting to use it on my next project already.
 
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Old 02-13-15, 09:02 AM
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So a primer such as this should do the job.

Sherwin-Williams Proclassic Waterborne Interior Acrylic Enamel or BM ADVANCEŽ Waterborne Interior Alkyd Paint

So brushing on the primer, sanding, and then using a foam roller to put on the paint would work?
 
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Old 02-13-15, 09:04 AM
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Do it best wall and wood primer.
 
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Old 02-13-15, 09:50 AM
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Thanks
 
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Old 02-13-15, 09:55 AM
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The ProClassic and BM waterborne are great choices for the finish paint. I'm partial to Gilman's latex enamel undercoater although SWP's A-100 exterior latex primer [yeah, I use it on new interior woodwork] also does a fine job. Those 2 primers cover well, sand easily and hold out the sheen on the top coat.
 
 

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